An event such as the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar offers much more than opportunities to learn, although education is the primary purpose of the annual two-week event in Colorado Springs, Colo. It also offers attendees opportunities to meet and connect with friends both old and new.
In late June, I attended the seminar during its first week to take the class “The Coins of Pre-Federal America,” taught by the dynamic duo of John J. Kraljevich Jr., a specialist collector and dealer of early American coinage (and Coin World columnist), and Erik Goldstein, curator of Mechanical Arts and Numismatics at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
Upon arriving at the Colorado Springs airport on Saturday morning, June 22, I gathered my baggage and found the waiting area for the shuttle to Colorado College, site of the Summer Seminar. Also waiting for the shuttle was Ray Williams, past president of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club and one of the leading experts on New Jersey coinage. In conversing with Ray, I learned that he was taking the same class as I.
After checking in at the college campus, I called Tom DeLorey, a Coin World staff member when I joined in 1976 and a friend ever since. Tom has just moved from Chicago back to Colorado Springs, where he lived years earlier while serving as authenticator/grader for ANACS. Tom quickly picked me up, and then drove me to the nearby Garden of the Gods — an amazing landscape of reddish rock.
The next morning, Tom drove me to the summit of Pikes Peak, whose 14,115-foot peak is more than 13,100 feet higher than the flatlands of Sidney. The views from the summit were amazing. On the way down from the summit, things got interesting — and painful. I fell crossing an uneven patch of ground, landing in the middle of the road (no traffic, fortunately). I banged up my left rib cage pretty badly — by Tuesday the pain was severe enough to require a trip to the emergency room of a local medical center for X-rays and pain medication. (Thanks to the ANA’s Susan McMillan and her husband, David Sklow, for getting me to the ER, and to Tom for picking me up.)
Throughout the seminar, during the meals in the campus cafeteria, I had many opportunities to meet collectors from all around the nation; since I rarely travel to coin shows, it was good to be able to meet other collectors and compare notes about the classes we were taking.
And what about the seminar class? It was incredible. John and Erik are wonderful teachers — knowledgeable, funny and unafraid to point out what they feel are errors in interpretation of certain pre-federal coinage history. During the five days of instructions, they took the class through the entirety of pre-federal coinage, not only the coins of Britain but those of Spain, the Netherlands and Britain’s other rivals in the New World. John and Erik (and during the New Jersey coppers section, Ray Williams) passed out hundreds of incredible coins for students to examine — Spanish cobs and milled coins, Dutch guilders, New England and Massachusetts silver, and much more. It was a thrill to be able to handle so many incredible pieces that once circulated in early America.
The ANA Summer Seminar should be on everyone’s schedule. For those who might find the expense of attending the event difficult, many scholarships are available. Go the seminar; you will never regret it. ■